How Gary Rossington played through the pain to define the quintessential Southern rock sound with Lynyrd Skynyrd

Gary Rossington
(Image credit: Pete Still/Redferns)

As Guitar World’s unofficial Southern rock correspondent for the past 33 years, I interviewed Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington, who passed away March 5 at age 71, many times over many years. He was always insightful, good natured and happy to talk.

A few conversations really stand out. Circa 1996, we did a great phone interview, speaking at length about his sobriety, which was quite new at the time. Shortly after we hung up, my office landline rang again.

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Alan Paul

Alan Paul is the author of three books, Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan, One Way Way Out: The Inside Story of the Allman Brothers Band – which were both New  York Times bestsellers – and Big in China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising a Family, Playing the Blues and Becoming a Star in Beijing, a memoir about raising a family in Beijing and forming a Chinese blues band that toured the nation. He’s been associated with Guitar World for 30 years, serving as Managing Editor from 1991-96. He plays in two bands: Big in China and Friends of the Brothers, with Guitar World’s Andy Aledort.